To Find the Descending Way

You are probably wondering how, in imitation of Jesus, you are to find that descending way. That’s a very personal and intimate question, and in the end I don’t think that anyone can answer it but you. It’s not simply a matter of renouncing your money, your possessions, your intellectual formation, or your friends or family. For some people, it has indeed meant this but only because they felt personally called to take that road.

Each one of us has to seek out his or her own descending way of love. That calls for much prayer, much patience, and much guidance. It has nothing at all to do with spiritual heroics, dramatically throwing everything overboard to “follow” Jesus. The descending way is a way that is concealed in each person’s heart. But because it is so seldom walked on, it’s often overgrown with weeds. Slowly but surely we have to clear the weeds, open the way, and set out on it unafraid.

For me, this weeding out process is always related to prayer, because to pray is to make free time for God, even when you’re very busy with important matters of one kind or another. Every time you make free time for God, you clear up a bit of the descending path, and you see where you can plant your feet on the way of love.

Henri Nouwen, in Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings


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